Apple officially launches discounted iPhone 5C with storage slashed to 8GB

Rumors about an 8GB iPhone 5c were confirmed today when Apple launched the smaller-capacity device in European stores.

The phone is now available via international Apple Stores: £429 in the UK, and €559 (£469) in France, though local carriers are offering discounts to entice new users.

British provider O2 and French operator SFR are giving away the handsets for free and one euro, respectively, with multi-year contracts.

Meanwhile, China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom are all selling the 8GB phone for ¥4,088 (£398)—¥400 less than the 16GB version.

Apple also rolled out the new phone in Germany and Australia, but made no mention of launching on its home turf in America.

Rumours of a smaller-capacity iPhone 5C hit the web Monday, following leaks on two German blogs, and a published reader photo of what appeared to be the 8GB 5c's packaging.

But contrary to earlier reports, the 8GB iPhone 5c is available in all original colours —white, blue, yellow, green, and pink.

In fact, the only change since the iPhone 5c launched in September is the storage capacity; the handset still sports a 4-inch Retina display, A6 chip, 8-megapixel camera, 1080p HD video recording, and the latest version of iOS 7.

This move could help Cupertino expand to other markets, where budget consumers may not need 16GB or 32GB of storage. Until today, the 8GB iPhone 4s was the cheapest, smallest Apple product in most countries.

And, as the mid-tier iPhone segment continues to grow each year, the 8GB model serves as a perfect alternative for markets heavily based in LTE.

If our UK readers are wanting to get their hands on the handset through a Pay Monthly scheme, Three are offering the iPhone 5C on 24 month contract with a range of options. If you pay £19 for the device up front, for example, you can bag yourself the 8GB model for £38 per month with AYCA data and AYCE minutes. Those whose pennies are more pinched can sign up to the £29 per month contract that will give them the iPhone 5C with 1GB of data and 600 minutes.